God and the British Soldier: Religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

God and the British Soldier

Religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars, 1st Edition

By Michael Snape


336 pages

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Drawing on a wealth of new material from military, ecclesiastical and secular civilian archives, Michael Snape presents a study of the experience of the officers and men of Britain’s vast citizen armies, and also of the numerous religious agencies which ministered to them.

Historians of the First and Second World Wars have consistently underestimated the importance of religion in Britain during the war years, but this book shows that religion had much greater currency and influence in twentieth-century British society than has previously been realised.

Snape argues that religion provided a key component of military morale and national identity in both the First and Second World Wars, and demonstrates that, contrary to accepted wisdom, Britain’s popular religious culture emerged intact and even strengthened as a result of the army’s experiences of war.

The book covers such a range of disciplines, that students and scholars of military history, British history and Religion will all benefit from its purchase.

Table of Contents



Copyright acknowledgements

List of abbreviations


1 ‘Diffusive Christianity’ and the religion of the soldier

2 God and the generals

3 Command and the clergy: generals, chaplains and morale

4 The church in khaki

5 Religion, morality and war

6 The army and religious philanthropy





About the Author

Michael Snape is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham and a member of the University of Birmingham’s Centre for First World War Studies. He is author of The Redcoat and Religion (Routledge, 2005) The Church of England in Industrialising Society (2003)

About the Series

Christianity and Society in the Modern World

This series of social historical studies explores the relationship between Christianity and its social context in the period since 1500. Recent exciting new research in this field has greatly increased our understanding of how the changing face of Christianity as a historical religion during the period affected contemporary social attitudes, customs, and behaviour. The books in this series draw this research together, providing new perspectives and interpretations on a fascinating area of social history and bringing it before a wider audience.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Military / World War I
HISTORY / Military / World War II
RELIGION / History